KAUST was founded over a decade ago to enhance the welfare of society with a special focus on four areas of global significance—food, water, energy, and the environment. We are built on sustainability.
And we are committed to equipping students with conceptual and practical tools for addressing critical global sustainability challenges. Our academic programs offer an extensive array of graduate courses that cover their subjects in depth while contextualizing them within the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
All of KAUST’s course offerings address sustainability. But many of our courses directly focus on sustainability. The following list describes the sustainability component of each of these courses and itemizes the SDGs they address.
Advanced Environmental Microbiology
Covers the biology, ecology, production, and application of microorganisms for sustainable agriculture, environmental bioremediation, and cleanup according to the concept of microbial resource management
Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment
An introduction to concepts and methods for determining the net environmental, economic, and social impacts of engineering technologies and processes. Also presents analytical tools and resources for evaluating sustainability from a systems perspective. These methods are examined and applied to current engineering issues including global climate change, alternative-fueled vehicles, water management and wastewater treatment, urban development, renewable energy (solar, wind, and biomass), and waste mitigation.
Sustainable process engineering is a methodology to design new and redesign existing processes that follow the principles of green chemistry and green engineering, and ultimately contribute to a sustainable development. The newest achievements of chemical engineering, opened new opportunities to design more efficient, safe, compact and environmentally benign chemical processes.
Sustainability in Chemistry
The course covers the following topics:
- Introduction to sustainability and nano & porous materials
- Sustainable synthesis and characterization of nano & porous materials
- Green chemistry
- Polymeric membranes for sustainable separations
- Preparation & applications of sustainable membrane
- Sustainable production of hydrogen by water electrolysis
- Sustainable transport and delivery of hydrogen
- Sustainable hydrogen storage
- Introduction to Ultrafast Fluorescence Spectroscopy
- Electron Imaging Methods: Scanning Electron Microscopy & Transmission Electron Microscopy
- Time-resolved Electron Imaging Methods: Scanning Electron Microscopy & Transmission Electron Microscopy
- Introduction to sustainable organic materials
- Synthesis and characterization of sustainable organic materials
Covers the history of Earth’s climate, the formation of oceans and the atmosphere, biological history, energy balance using the climate model, oceanic and atmospheric circulation, climate change, and coupled ocean-atmosphere-biosphere climate models.
Geological Systems of Arabia
Uses the Arabian plate to explore major geological processes such as plate tectonics, continental accretion, exhumation, fragmentation, the development of sedimentary basins, plate margin and intraplate magmatism, and the formation of hydrocarbon and mineral deposits. Along the way, the course is an opportunity to study climate change, geological CO2 sequestration, and the potential for high- and low-enthalpy geothermal energy.
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics II
Covers climate and climate change, large-scale atmospheric and oceanic motion, fine-scale processes, and other factors influencing the climate.
Atmospheric Chemistry and Transport
An introduction to atmospheric chemical processes and their role in the climate system.
Covers the main physical processes in the Earth’s atmosphere and their role in the formation of weather and climate.
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)
Provides an integrated workflow for field development and production lifecycle, including secondary recovery evaluation, reservoir screening for tertiary recovery, assessing various EOR schemes, and understanding the limitations of various EOR methods such as CO2 capture.
Energy and the Environment
Covers the relationship between ecosystems in the past and in the present, their energy storage and throughput, and energy production and its side effects through sustainable and unsustainable cycles. Students will analyze the inadequacies of economic theories in fully capturing the relationship between the human economy and the Earth’s economy (i.e., ecology).
Principles of Environmental Sustainability
A general survey of sustainability and water-food-energy systems, anthropogenic action, and climate change.
Selected Topics in Green Process Technology
Explores how the environmental footprint of food, water, and other material production can be reduced.
Covers theoretical and practical aspects of seawater/brackish water desalination technologies. Topics include desalination processes; system performance; fouling, scaling, and cleaning; water quality and post-treatment; energy consumption; environmental impact; economics; hybrid systems; desalination using renewable energy; and desalination market trends.
Public Health Microbiology
An introduction to the diversity of microbial agents that can impact public health and environmental systems. This course details the microbial hazards found in water, soils, and air, and introduces students to quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA).
An examination of the structure and function of marine ecosystems, this course describes ecosystems from the intertidal zone to the deep sea and outlines ecological principles governing the distribution of organisms and their adaptations to changing environments.
Marine Microbial Ecology
An overview of the structure and function of microbial communities in the oceans, including discussions on novel methods, results, and hypotheses. Organisms that thrive in extreme marine environments such as mangroves and microbial extremophiles are also discussed.
An overview of marine biology, including the diversity of marine habitats, major groups of taxa inhabiting those habitats, and the general biology of the various taxa. Topics include the impacts of climate change and other anthropogenic impacts in the ocean.
Materials for Energy
A review of the challenges facing materials scientists working in renewable energy and sustainability science and technology, this course aims to give the student a high-level view of current topics in energy harvesting and storage materials.
Funds of Circular Carbon Strategies
An in-depth examination of engineering systems to convert, store, transport, and make use of energy, with emphasis on technologies that reduce or eliminate dependence on fossil fuels and emission of greenhouse gases. Topics include thermodynamics of energy conversion, energy resources, stationary power generation (vapor power cycles, combined cycles, solar thermal systems, nuclear fission and fusion, solar photovoltaics, fuel cells, wind, geothermal), carbon sequestration, alternative fuels (hydrogen, biofuels), and transportation systems (internal combustion engines, gas turbines, fuel cell and electric vehicles).
Sustainable Thermal Technologies
An examination of sustainable thermal technologies, providing in-depth coverage of the working principles, thermodynamics analyses, and developments leading to current thermal systems. The course specifically looks at solar energy (diffuse and concentrated), geothermal energy, waste heat recovery, heat pumps, cogeneration, direct use of heat, and hybridizing with combustion. Broader issues related to integration, economics, and potential for carbon reduction are also discussed.
Renewable Fluid Power
Covers the fundamentals of renewable fluid power technologies including wind, wave, hydro, and tidal. Includes the principles of fluid mechanics for each technology and methods for maximizing efficiency and utilization. System-level analyses are performed to evaluate each resource, its conversion efficiency, and its use as an alternative to traditional sources.
Electrochemical Energy System
An introduction to renewable energy storage and hydrogen as an energy carrier, priciples of electrochemical CO2 conversion devices, and electrochemical CO2 reduction.
PROGRAMS AND INITIATIVES
THE WINTER ENRICHMENT PROGRAM (WEP)
This annual two-week program is designed to unleash the creativity of KAUST students, guests, and audience participants.
Since 2010, WEP has proudly hosted Nobel laureates, CEOs, professors from leading universities, elite athletes, artists, and distinguished regional and local leaders and decision-makers, making it a global hub of knowledge sharing.
Although WEP’s theme changes every year, sustainability is a recurring thread in discussions and is reflected across the program’s events and activities.
VISITING STUDENT RESEARCH PROGRAM (VSRP)
This unique sponsored program gives students the opportunity to conduct innovative research while offering them an entree to pursue their graduate studies at KAUST. With research opportunities that span the breadth of scientific and engineering fields, VSRP provides students who have drive, an insatiable curiosity, and strong academic performance with an unparalleled opportunity to pursue their research with guidance and support from KAUST faculty mentors.
VSRP accepts students from all over the world regardless of ethnicity, gender, or social background, for an inclusive opportunity to be part of the international research community.